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July 10, 2008



this is a wonderful idea! i look forward to following your trip! I have both cities on the itinerary in the next few months, so i will keep notes :)

Prêt à Voyager

Hi Janelle!
Here's the list I came up with last time I was in SF. http://pretavoyager.blogspot.com/2008/04/sf-list.html and here: http://pretavoyager.blogspot.com/2008/04/wish-i-was-there.html
Didn't check off everything, but here are my top picks:
* Mundane Journeys (pick up a copy of the book or see if Kate is actually running a tour while you're there): http://www.mundanejourneys.com/insidecolor1/insidecolor.html
* The Pirate Supply Store - non profit to help kids improve their writing skills, all under the front of a pirate shop: http://www.826valencia.org/store/
* Get Lost travel books (ok, so I never made it here, but really wanted to go): http://www.getlostbooks.com/p_home.html
* De Young Museum - the details and intricacies of the building itself are just as fascinating as the work inside http://www.famsf.org/deyoung/index.asp (also keep your eyes peeled nearby for old men playing boccee in Golden Gate State Park)

Happy travels!


If you like coffee or beer or movies, I can help. :)

Coffee: Blue Bottle Coffee - http://bluebottlecoffee.net/ GREAT coffee very close to the downtown area and another little kiosk over in Hayes Valley.

Beer: Three places to try would be Magnolia, 21st Amendment, and Monk's Kettle. Magnolia and 21st Amendment are both brewpubs. Magnolia leans toward higher end food, but their beer is still amazing. 21st isn't as adventurous most of the year, but they are entirely worthwhile in exploring; they still have great beer. Monk's Kettle is not a brewpub, just a little beer pub with great food. They have a HUGE beer selection on draft and in bottle. If you're inclined more toward the dive end, there is the somewhat famous Zeitgeist beer garden which if warm is a grand old time. There's also Toronado in the Lower Haight area, which I recommend over the Upper Haight frankly. AND there's Rosemunde Sausages next door to Toronado that you can bring in to Toronado and have beer with. Great place.

Movies: You'll be here during the opening of The Dark Knight, so you can see it in IMAX down at the Metreon. If you want spectacle, you can catch a live appearance of Mitzi Gaynor at The Castro theater and the following week is the SF Jewish Film Festival at The Castro. You can also check out the schedule at The Roxie: http://www.roxie.com/events/

If you want to do something touristy itself, but doing it in a local way, I recommend a bus trip on the 29 bus line over to the Golden Gate Bridge. Touristy though it may be, it is still spectacular. I never tire of going over to see it.

Even though I live here, I go downtown frequently to shop at places like Macy's and The Apple Store and Virgin. There's also Amoeba Records over in the far end of the Upper Haight which is great if you want to find anything that's hard to find.

If you want incredibly good food of the hearty variety, I would say Suppenkuche over in Hayes Valley. I mean the place is just flat out amazing German food. However, get there at 5 PM or you'll be waiting a long time.

A lot of people will recommend The Mission, and there are some great places there, no doubt, but there are some pretty scary areas of The Mission as well. I brave it to hit the over-hipsterized Ritual Roasters for coffee. Monk's Kettle is there, but not too deep that you have to cross too far into the abyss. However, there is pretty much a crack house in the apartment above Monk's Kettle. Some people call that "character" in the city, but I just find homeless drug addicts to be both incredibly sad and very scary. Basically, stay away from 16th and Mission too far down Mission between 16th and 17th.


Pretty much anyone can figure out what to do in downtown Seattle, though the Underground Tour, which seems like a touristy miss, can actually be a great time if you've got a guide with their A-game on. Not much to see, honestly, but an excellent overview of Seattle history.

But cracking Seattle is about the outlying hoods, I think. A visit to the wacky Archie McPhee's toy store in Ballard (and to the locks while you're at it to see the salmon run, in season.) Treats at West Seattle's unbelievable French bakery, Bakery Nouveau. Renting a kayak at Agua Verde in the University District. Alki Beach for a promenade. Shopping at Uwajimaya (shiny and clean) or VietWah (less so) for exotic produce and then, eating Vietnamese crepes at Saigon Bistro, taking a ferry ride just for the view...

Just a few suggestions. Seattle is such a great city and at her best at this time of year, so you can't really go wrong.


Great idea!

I second Blue Bottle as SF's best coffee -- the Mint Plaza location is where you'll find the only siphon coffee in the States, which is worth trying if you're a coffee person.

A really SF local thing to try is one of the farmer's markets. The ferry market is great, but I've heard that the Berkeley market has a mean organic Thai red snapper on rice. Been meaning to try that myself, so if you want a food buddy, let me know.

A great way to see the beautiful sea and landscape is on a little sailboat. The Cal-Sailing Club offers free trips on certain days, including the 27th when you're in town. http://www.cal-sailing.org/aboutcsc/openhouse.html

What I like most about this city is the little nooks and crannies everywhere. As a local, I find I'm discovering murals and secret alleyways all the time! The older parts of the city are good for that, like the Mission, Russian Hill.

If you can post your itinerary pre-trip, I'll check back to make suggestions to top it off.

Happy travels!

abby wollman

I love Seattle, it is one of my favorite cities, and here are my favorite spots to go to:
Gasworks. I have been there at all times of day, and it is amazing. The machinery is amazing to look at and the view of Seattle is unbeatable.
The Fremont Sunday flea market! Tons of great vendors and awesome antique finds. I've gotten so much good stuff here and definitely recommend spending a Sunday afternoon here. Also, check out the Fremont Antique Mall around the corner.
West Seattle. Take the ferry, it's a 10 minute ride from downtown and get an awesome view of the sound! Once in West Seattle, either visit the black sand beaches or traverse california ave's antique shops and record stores.
See a show. Go to Neumo's, chop suey, or the tractor tavern and see some awesome local music!
hope this helps. have an awesome time.


Fremont in Seattle is a great place to explore during the daytime, make sure to visit the Fremont Troll under the bridge.

At nighttime, almost nothing can beat my favorite spot: Gasworks Park at night. It's just amazing. Bring a camera. It's so serene and simply great. It "closes" at 11 30 or so, but you can pretty much stay there through the night if it suits your fancy.

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